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34 Laps

 “The human body has limitations, the human spirit is boundless.”

Dean Karnazes

It's Wednesday night and I'm pretty tired. I've had a big week so far and it's not quite done yet. I've got lots of stuff on the to do list but it's time to set most of it aside until next week, because I've got bigger fish to fry. I'm running a 24 hour race on Saturday and it's time to turn my attention fully in that direction.

I've had a number of people ask if I'm ready and my answer is yes, I am unconventionally ready for this race. I've got all my gear and my food together, I pick up my rental tent and bib on Friday, and I've reached my fundraising goal. But my legs are tired--I'm tired. I have a bit of a nagging injury. And I'm not specifically trained for this race. I'm trained in general, but not specifically, not like last year. And yet, in spite of all that, I feel ready to go. Not cocky, not in denial--but hopeful. Actually, it's more like curious. My mind is in it and my heart is in it and my spirit is in it and my attitude is in it, and so I'm going to go find out: can they carry my body through this? Can some friends and my family and the race energy and the fresh air and my mind, heart, spirit and attitude carry my body along? I kind of think so.

It's only 24 hours, after all.

If I could insert that emoji face with the wry look I would. 24 hours is a long time to stay on your feet and keep moving. Last year I had some kind of out-of-body, blissed out experience and, although that's in the back of my mind, I know this race can be, will be, an entirely different experience. I have a feeling that far from being blissed out I am going to be intensely dialed in. But the point is--I have no idea how it's going to go. The only thing I know is that it is entirely up to me how I respond to whatever this race throws at me. When it's 3am and I'm on the dark side of the lake and I have five more hours to go, that's when I'll find out what I'm made of. But that isn't actually what scares me. What scares me is if it's 1pm and I'm only five hours in and I already have to find out what I'm made of. Will that fortitude be there? There's no way to know, which is exactly what is exciting about this race. I just have to go start, and when I meet up with resistance, which I will, I'll find out if my strength of mind and nerve and pluck and resolve have taken hold and are at the ready. It's fuel for the fire to think I might be able to finish well among the other 24 hour runners, but ultimately it's kind of just me taking inventory of me: Am I who I think I've become? Have I really restored my good attitude and my belief in myself? Do I have a little bit more grit to access? Can I be kind when I'm tired and stay grateful when it all starts breaking apart? Because that's the test I want to pass. That's the big, big reason I do this.

I have to run 34 laps to reach 60 miles, but of course I'm eyeing 40 laps. I've got plenty of water, plenty of electrolytes, and plenty of rice krispie bars. I have 5 pairs of shoes to rotate through and a strong headlamp to light my way when it gets dark. I've got blister care and Advil and salt pills and Bengay. I have peanut butter & jelly, friends to come and run a lap with me, and a dedicated crew. But most of all I have a simple and sound strategy:

“Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must, just never give up.” Dean Karnazes